Women in Computer Science

Computer Science, and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in general, traditionally suffer from a gender imbalance. In the Department of Computer Science and in the Faculty of Engineering we are committed to redressing this.

SWICS at the BCSWomen Lovelace Colloquium

Wall of Women

A number of our female colleagues and alumna feature in the Faculty of Engineering's 'Wall of Women' initiative to highlight women's contribution to engineering:

Aline Villavicencio profile photo

It’s a fantastic working environment, where I’m surrounded by experts in related fields

Professor Aline Villavicencio Department of Computer Science

Aline Villavicencio is Chair in Natural Language Processing & Director of Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity in the Department of Computer Science and here she tells us why engineering was for her and what brought her to Sheffield.

Heidi Christensen

People don’t realise engineers solve big problems for people

Professor Heidi Christensen Department of Computer Science

My name is Heidi Christensen, I’m interested in seeing how we can use speech technology to help people, I’ve worked on making speech enabled software to help give people a better quality of life. I'm a Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science.

Amy Nicholson

The best thing about being an engineer is...you can change the way we do things now, for the better

Amy Nicholson Computer Science Alumna

Amy graduated in 2014 from the University of Sheffield with a BSc in Computer Science. She is now a Technical Evangelist in DX at Microsoft.

Sanziana Chiorescu

During my placement year I was employed by Siemens as the Mindsphere Innovation Network Intern in the Diamond building.

Sanziana Chiorescu Alumna

Sanziana is a current student at the University and here she tells us about her engineering journey so far.

Mitra Abbasi

I chose the University of Sheffield not only because of the course but because it has a prestigious degree, practical links and industry contacts.

Mitra Abbasi Computer Science & Insigneo Institute for in silico Medicine alumna

Mitra is a Computer Science & Insigneo Institute for in silico Medicine alumna now working for Simcyp at Certara, a pharmaceutical company in Sheffield

Anannya Kumarvel

One of the best things about being an engineering student at Sheffield is the many opportunities to work closely with clients

Anannya Kumarvel Alumna

Anannya is a Software Engineering student in the Department of Computer Science.

Kitty Hung running the London Marathon in aid of scholarships

Computing and engineering does not require physical strength so I cannot see why women can not do as well, if not better, than men

Dr Kitty Hung Computer Science Alumna

Kitty Hung is Senior Project Manager and Business Analyst for the IT Department at the Metropolitan Police Service in London. She studied for her PhD at the University of Sheffield in Computer Science, graduating in 1999.

Galatia Partheniou

I always enjoyed making things happen and producing something useful and meaningful to someone else

Galatia Partheniou Alumna

Galatia Partheniou is a final year student in the Department of Computer Science.

Visit the Faculty of Engineering's 'Wall of Women'

Athena SWAN

The Athena SWAN charter is a framework to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing gender equality within higher education. Our department has proactively engaged with Athena SWAN for over a decade, having gained our Bronze award in 2012, followed by our first Silver award in 2016.

This Silver renewal award recognises our significant efforts and successes in our ongoing mission to improve gender representation and diversity. Amongst the many achievements since our last submission, we have significantly grown our Sheffield Women In Computing Students society, and have also built up a thriving Women+@DCS seminar series to promote gender diversity amongst PhD students and staff. We have also broadened the remit of our equality, diversity and inclusion (ED&I) committee to encompass factors such as race, neurodiversity, disability, and wellbeing. Find out more.

View our Athena SWAN silver submission

Sheffield Women in Computer Science Society (SWiCS)

SWiCS aims to empower and connect women who are passionate about computer science. Founded in 2019, the aim was to bring people together in a supportive and inclusive community.

“When I was studying for my GCSE and A-Level in Computer Science, there were very few women in the classes, which made it quite difficult to make friends. So, when I arrived in Sheffield, I was really impressed with the number of women studying Computer Science and saw the society as an opportunity to meet others who’ve had similar experiences.

Hayley Young, SWiCS Chair, 2023


BCSWomen Lovelace Colloquium

The BCSWomen Lovelace Colloquium is an annual one day conference for women students of Computing and related subjects. The event started in 2008, and moves around the country.

The aims of this event are:

  • To provide a forum for undergraduate women and masters students to share their ideas and network
  • To provide a stimulating series of talks from women in computing, both from academia and industry
  • To provide both formal (talks) and informal (networking) advice to undergraduate women about careers in computing from a female perspective

Each year they have a great series of talks, and an opportunity for students to discuss their own work in the form of a poster contest, with cash prizes provided by industry sponsors. Google have sponsored all events to date, enabling BCSWomen to cover the travel costs (and overnight accommodation if necessary) for all students in the poster contest, and other industrial and academic bodies have provided additional sponsorship covering prizes and lunch.

You can see details of previous events including lists of prizewinners here: Previous Conferences

Each year we invite our students to represent us at the event and we were delighted to host the 2023 conference at the University of Sheffield. The event was a fantastic success - read more:

You can also find out more about the event and register for updates on their website.

In 2019 Kate Bobyn and Katie Walker represented our department at the event.

Kate won first prize in her category for her poster: Challenges Associated with Humanitarian Applications of Neural Machine Translation for Low-Resource Languages.

Kate Bobyn at the BSCWomen Lovelace Colloquium

The conference was really well organised and a genuine pleasure to attend. One of the highlights for me was Helen Leigh's talk on alternative career paths in technology.

I enjoyed making and presenting my poster, as I got to discuss one of the research areas that has interested me for a long time - machine translation for low-resource languages, with a focus on humanitarian efforts such as disaster relief and crisis management.

I got to exchange ideas with students from all over the UK, some of whom I'm planning to meet up with in the future at hackathons and CS talks. I will certainly attend again next year.

Kate Bobyn

BEng Software Engineering

Katie Walker at the BSCWomen Lovelace Colloquium

There are few events for women in computer science and I really recommend attending if you can. The conference was interesting, inspiring and had some fantastic companies sponsoring. There were a series of talks from women working as self-employed, software developers and researchers, which was great for finding out about different routes you can take in the industry. It was also a great opportunity to meet other women from all over the country.

Kate Walker

BSc Computer Science and Mathematics

A global reputation

Sheffield is a research university with a global reputation for excellence. We're a member of the Russell Group: one of the 24 leading UK universities for research and teaching.